In this segment of Motley Fool Money, the cast discusses the dismal showing from Snap's (NYSE:SNAP) first quarterly report as a public company. CEO Evan Spiegel has much to learn about the difference between running a public versus private company, and even at the reduced valuation, Snap has a lot to prove.
A full transcript follows the video.
This video was recorded on May 12, 2017.
Chris Hill: This week, Snap issued its first quarterly report as a public company, and the reaction from Wall Street was one of abject horror. Snap lost more than $2 billion, and user growth was weaker than expected. Jason, CEO Evan Spiegel finding out this week something that we have said on the show before -- running a public company is harder than running a private company.
Jason Moser: Sure. Cue the ephemeral profitability jokes. I guess, really, that's not applicable here, because there was no profitability to begin with, not that that's any real surprise. They have a ways to go to actually get there. I think the good news for Snap at this point in time, this was the first call, and they have an opportunity to learn from their mistakes and to get better. I think the bad news is pretty much everything else about that call.
Hill: [laughs] The conference call?
Moser: And I listen to it. This is one where you don't want to read the transcript, you want to listen to it and hear how this team sounds, how they work together, what they're talking about. I don't know that Evan Spiegel does himself any favors by trying to hold his cards so close to the vest. That ultimately is what you got from this. No. 1, I think he has probably fallen a little bit from his own height. No. 2, he's not really willing to give up so much information as far as plans for the company, a road map to profitability, products they have, features, whatever it may be. So the market, everybody is essentially stuck here wondering: What exactly is this business, and what kind of growth can we expect from it? Because, certainly the numbers were less than everyone was expecting when it comes to revenue growth, when it comes to user growth. There are some big questions here. And it's reasonable to assume that they're going to have some issues getting there, because Snapchat is a niche platform.
The really bad news for investors even after this big sell off this week is that the stock is still absurdly overvalued by virtually any metric. If you look at it from a [price to sales] perspective -- we can't look at it from a [price to earnings], because there are no earnings yet -- the stock is still trading at 41 times sales. You put that into perspective, Twitter is trading at less than 6 times. Zillow is trading at less than 9 times. And these are two businesses also very much internet-based, non-profitable businesses. So I think those are pretty good apples to apples comparisons here. The expectations on Snap right now are just absurd. I fear that investors who are thinking, "We'll just wait this out, or maybe buy on this dip," I really don't see a scenario where this stock doesn't get cut in half from today's level.
Seth Jayson: Snap doesn't really, I don't think, pass the "what would happen if if we're gone tomorrow" test. We talked about this with some of these stores.
Ron Gross: My kids would be a little upset.
Moser: They'd get over it the next day.
Jayson: They'd just start pasting stickers on Facebook, and chat on their iPhone or whatever. I mean, yeah, they have a pretty big user base. But what they're selling is not really anything all that differentiated.
Gross: I hate seeing them miss and report disappointing numbers so close to an IPO. The roadshow was just a minute ago, and the guidance to the Street was a minute ago, and to come out and say, "Yeah, I guess our visibility wasn't that good," it's just disgusting. To see the stock get hit like this, which is appropriate, it should never have been at that valuation in the first place, it's just not appropriate.
Moser: Yeah. And I don't want this to just be a gang up on Snapchat -- I do think there is potential there. Obviously, they've built up something that a lot of people out there like to use. Its core function as a messaging app is very replicable, and we've seen Facebook put up copies of that and do pretty well with it. So I think the key for Spiegel is going to be, No. 1, learning how to behave as a CEO. He's 26 years old. I remember when I was that age, you think you know it all. Obviously he doesn't. He's going to figure that out as he goes along. But I think the other question that needs to be answered is, what else are they going to become? They can't just be Snapchat, they have to figure out a way to be special, to be unique, to offer something that no one else does.
Jayson: Glasses, the camera glasses.
Chris Hill has no position in any stocks mentioned. Jason Moser owns shares of Twitter. Ron Gross owns shares of Facebook. Seth Jayson has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook, Twitter, Zillow Group (A shares), and Zillow Group (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.